Kerala flood: Although Mullaperiyar Dam is located in Kerala, it is operated by Tamil Nadu (File photo)
After heavy rain for the last one week triggered floods and landslides in Kerala, killing 67, including 25 people just today, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sent an SOS to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and his Tamil Nadu counterpart E Palaniswami on the rising water level in the Mullaperiyar Dam.
Calling it a threat to safety, Mr Vijayan said the water level at Mullaperiyar has reached 142 feet and wrote to the Tamil Nadu chief minister to regulate water in the dam. Kerala wants the water level to be maintained at 139 feet.
Although the Mullaperiyar Dam is located in Kerala, it is operated by Tamil Nadu, and Kerala has for long been demanding de-commissioning of the dam which has over the years developed leaks.
Tamil Nadu maintains that the dam is safe, and a Supreme Court directive in May 2014 allowed the state to increase the water level from 136 feet to a maximum of 142 feet. Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the dam, built under an 1886 accord between the then Maharaja of Travancore and the erstwhile British regime.
With the ongoing downpour, there is anxiety over the way Tamil Nadu would handle the water level at the Mullaperiyar dam, as they use the waters using large penstock pipes for irrigating their farmland.
News agency IANS says some reports suggest Tamil Nadu has now reduced its offtake to prove a point that the dam is safe and the water level in the dam could be raised further to 152 feet.
After Mr Vijayan spoke to the Prime Minister today, the centre directed the Central Water Commission to intervene in the issue. PM Modi tweeted to say that the centre is ready to provide any assistance needed to the people of Kerala.
“Had a detailed discussion with Kerala CM Shri Pinarayi Vijayan regarding the unfortunate flood situation in the state. Centre stands firmly with the people of Kerala and is ready to provide any assistance needed,” PM Modi tweeted.
On Monday, the Home Minister had announced Rs 100 crore for the rain-ravaged state, even though Kerala says the total loss due to floods is estimated to be Rs 8,000 crore. “Immediate mitigation and rectification expenditure to the state around Rs. 3,000. And the central grant precious Rs. 100. And that too if it is from regular disaster management fund due to Kerala , I don’t know!” Kerala minister Thomas Isaac had tweeted.
60,000 people have been moved to relief camps since August 8 in what has turned out to be the state’s worst monsoon in almost a century. More than 10,000 kilometres of roads and hundreds of homes have been destroyed or damaged. Today, a red alert was issued across the state, and the Kochi airport shut operations till Saturday.
With inputs from IANS
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